SquashTalk> Features >Player Profiles >Hall of Fame > Abedl Fattah Amr Bey (Egypt)

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Amr Bey : The First Dominant Squash Champion



May 2001, Concord MA, © 2001 SquashTalk
Photos: © 2001 SquashTalk


by Ron Beck

F.D. Amr Bey: "Human Streak of Lightning"

Abedel Fattah Amr, known simply as F.D. Amr Bey, or more universally as Amr Bey, won the British Open championship six straight times, from 1933 through 1938, held the British Amateur championship six times and numerous other titles. He was the first truly dominant squash player in the sport. He was termed the first "professional amateur," meaning that his squash training in many ways became his life. He has been compared to Jonah Barrington, with regard to his work ethic and fitness. Amr was never beaten in the finals of either the British Open or Amateur - neither was Barrington.

Don Butcher, whom Amr deposed to gain the British Open title, said, "The speed of Amr Bey was positively amazing. He never allowed the ball to reach the back wall, and his angle shots and drop shots have never been surpassed for their accuracy and brilliance." According to another observer at the time, Brian Phillips, "Amr was tiny, about 5' 5''. He had a little wrist and a thin pencil grip on the racket. It was like a wand. Very light... He was probably the best attacking player I've ever seen."

In 1932, Cazalet in The Times wrote, "I would merely remark that it is possible, as in the case of the present Open and Amateur Champion, Amr Bey, to bring the game to such a degree of scientific perfection that a really good first-class player in a championship match may consider himself fortuneate if he scores a single point other than a fluke against this remarkable Egyptian."

Amr Bey was a creative player, who broadened the bounds of the sport and introduced new offensive weapons to the game. Amr Bey said, in his 1934 book, " ...[in squash] the battle between attack and defence continues and will continue indefinitely. I am firmly convinced that the supply of possible strokes in squash rackets is practically unlimited."

Amr Bey combined anticipation and shot making skills with, for his time, incredible fitness and speed. Stories of his retrieval of virtually irretrievable shots have given him legendary status.

Don Butcher said, "To give you some idea of his wonderful fitness and lasting power, I am the only player who has scored points against him in the fifth game of a serious match."

Combined with his championship squash abilities, Bey leaves a legacy of sportsmanship, good will, and friendship with his strongest rivals. Bey was the predecessor to the next great Egyptian champion, Mahmoud Karim.

Together, Bey and Karim created the foundation for Egyptian squash dominance, a legacy being carried on today by such stars as Ahmed Barada, Kareem Darwish, Maha Zein, and Engy Keirallah.

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